Reservations for trips outside the country were negligible in recent months and what little demand there was plummeted with the announcement. What do the agencies offer to affected passengers?
The official announcement about the new limitations that the Government imposed on flights from Brazil, Chile and Mexico, to face the second wave of the coronavirus in Argentina, raises concern in the sector, which already registers a drop in sales of around 50% in international destinations.
For travel agencies, the restrictive measures, which will take effect on Saturday and were published this morning in the Official Gazette, will further deepen the crisis in the industry. They assure that in the last months the reserves for the foreigner were “negligible” and that the little demand that there was collapsed since the rumors of the announcement.
In this scenario, they anticipate “a new chaos” in rescheduling and do not rule out that more companies will close permanently, as 4,300 did since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the National Registry of Travel Agencies of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Nation.
He was CEO of an airline and his new project took off with the exodus of Argentines to Chile and Uruguay
Since “there is no alternative”, the strategy of the tour operators will focus on boosting the demand of the domestic market, as this summer, although they distrust that it can compensate for the drop. The low numbers of the high season portend a complicated future: it fell 28.9% this year compared to the previous one, according to the Argentine Confederation of Medium Enterprises (CAME).
Sources from the national Ministry of Tourism confirmed to El Cronista that there is a “significant drop” in the number of reservations and inquiries, “always based on volumes much lower than those of other years.”
In the last week, the sale of tickets abroad in Turismocity plummeted 20% compared to the first days of March. “The impact is negative. For this reason, for several months, we have emphasized national travel. We will reinforce the proposal with more promotions,” says Julian Gurfinkiel, co-founder of the company.
For Francisco Vigo, CEO of Almundo, “no measure that implies restrictions can be synonymous with good news for the industry, hit for 13 months, not only by the pandemic, but also by the tax pressure applied to purchases abroad “.
“It only generates greater uncertainty and less income, an unfavorable equation. Each plane that leaves abroad with Argentines returns with tourists willing to invest foreign currency, who keep a significant percentage of GDP and thousands of jobs standing. We are concerned about the process. of vaccination and the closure of frequencies, when passengers comply with the requirement of a PCR test, which implies that there is no risk, “reflected the executive.
Almundo is preparing to assist its clients, rescheduling their trips and expanding the bands of the service channels, with reinforcements in the telephones, the hours of operation of its branches and communication on social networks, to provide the best possible support.
From November to date, 70% of the air tickets that were already resolved had to be managed again in Despegar. “The pandemic confronted us with an unprecedented volume of cancellations and rescheduling of all tourist services,” says Paula Cristi, general manager for Argentina and Uruguay.
“Each case is particular and it is necessary to consider the circumstances of the traveler to bring him the viable options. Most of our suppliers contemplate flexibility, with open tickets, rescheduling or vouchers for the value of the reservation for other non-air products”, assures the number one of Take Off.
According to José Casabal, CEO of Volalá, “offers for domestic flights may appear, but they will not compensate, in any way, for the fall in the international market.” “Incentives for domestic travel do not have the same effect in the high season as at this time of year. It is very difficult to think of a strategy with these conditions,” he says, adding that in the second half of March sales fell by 50% and rescheduling doubled.
For the head of Volalá, “the longer the restriction is extended, the worse it will be, and it will contribute to deteriorating the health of a sector in a critical situation, with an uncertain future.” “With these restrictions, business closures will increase,” he said.
Avantrip had a 25% drop in the issuance of tickets abroad since March 17. The most affected destinations are Cancun and Rio de Janeiro, with an average decrease of 50%. “Visits remained stable, but the drop occurs in conversion, which implies that people search, but do not finish specifying,” explains Cristian Adamo, its CEO.